Though it seemed like it may never happen, the Union are on the verge of getting out from under the massive payroll mistakes that have plagued the team for the last two years. Though it may not happen in a timely fashion, Rais M'Bolhi will hopefully be gone next season. Carlos Valdes and his large salary will be off the books, and he will probably be joined by Steven Vitoria and his insanely large salary.
This means that the Union should have some room to make some moves this off-season. But if the last year proved anything, it's that they shouldn't just focus on signing expensive players from Europe and South America. Instead, they should focus a fair amount of that money on building up depth and a solid supporting cast. Depth has been one of the Union's biggest weaknesses over the last few seasons and that issue tends to rear its ugly head when players go down with injuries or runs of a bad form. When a team needs to rely on players like Conor Casey, Fred or Ethan White to grab a point late in a game or hold the lead, then your team may be in trouble.
There is no doubt that this team has a lot of holes to fill and there could be an entire series of articles on the subject. But quality depth is a hallmark of some of Major League Soccer's best teams and a big reason why those teams can stay consistent throughout the season. There are teams like D.C. United, Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City who aren't spending millions on DPs, but instead spend their money wisely and have a good bench and solid squad players to complement their stars. Even teams that do spend millions like the LA Galaxy have great complimentary players like Juninho and Baggio Husidic who help make Robbie Keane's life easier.
The Union don't have a good overall squad and they don't have a good bench. Cristian Maidana and Tranquillo Barnetta may be excellent players who are dangerous offensively, but all their skill is wasted if we don't have a quality defense or a competent goalkeeper to keep a lead. Maurice Edu may be a fine player, but if he continues to have a merry-go-round of subpar central defenders next to him then his contributions are wasted. Designated players and European imports may get the headlines, but maybe it's time the Union stop focusing on headlines and instead look to build a complete squad.